Wednesday 22 August 2012

Greg Marshall Ain't Walking Through the Door

There has been a lot of talk the last week about the Tiger-Cat defense, and rightly so. After seven games, the defense ranks last in many defensive categories and has held opposing teams to under 30 points just twice. Fans have been debating just what the problem is, with most placing the blame squarely on defensive coordinator Casey Creehan. Many have even called for Creehan's job. The popular name for a replacement is former defensive coordinator Greg Marshall.

Well, I hate to break it to all those clamouring for Marshall's return, but he ain't walking through the door. Marshall was fired as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders last August and they will be paying him for this season and next not to coach. He gets his full salary from Saskatchewan and gets to spend time with his family. This also means he can be very picky when it comes to accepting another job. He can wait for the job he wants (a position in Ottawa, perhaps) as opposed to taking a job he needs. Since he's getting paid, he doesn't need to work. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Marshall return – I never wanted to see him leave – but the chances of him returning, especially at mid-season, are pegged at slim to none in my books.

I understand why people are frustrated with the state of the defense right now, but fans need to be realistic in how the team will improve in that area. It won't be by hiring a new coordinator at mid-season. How often does that truly make a difference? Desperate teams, ones like Saskatchewan and Toronto last year, make changes at key coaching position at mid-season and they rarely pay off in anything substantial. Saskatchewan saw a little bump after they fired Greg Marshall as head coach last year, but that fizzled and the team finished 5-13 and missed the playoffs. The same sort of thing happened to the Argos after they fired defensive coordinator Chip Garber. The Argos didn't turn it around and finished 6-12 and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. Making coaching changes at mid-season is not the way to turn an underperforming team around.

Fans calling for Creehan's head and Marshall's return need to understand that those two things are very unlikely to happen. For better or worse, Creehan will probably be the defensive coordinator all season. Fans should probably accept this and put any idea that Greg Marshall will return to Hamilton to rest.

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